Sweeping edtech change inspires Southeast Christian School students, teachers, and substitutes

Southeast Christian School classroom

Published: October 5th, 2022

Located on the outskirts of Denver, Southeast Christian School has an energetic student body of more than 450 pre-K through 8th grade students. Committed to providing their students with an education supported by modern tools, the school brought on Education Technologist Corrie Kozacek several years ago to lead its technology program into a new era.

When Kozacek came onboard, there were different technologies throughout the 25-room school, and all were outdated. Working within a tight budget, the school decided the best option in 2019 was upgrading to interactive projectors. As Kozacek began installing the projectors, she quickly realized the process was going to be a challenge. Simply hanging the projectors was a struggle, but it was even harder to correctly calibrate them so that all the touch features worked.

Then the pandemic struck, and the government stepped in to support education with the CARES Act. Kozacek learned her school was eligible to receive funds for technology, so she decided to investigate an alternate solution.

User-friendliness and high value puts Promethean in the lead

Kozacek and administrators considered several different panels including the ActivPanel. They wanted to make a quick decision and were poised to select a competitor panel, the only one they had tested out at that point. But Shaun Taylor, the Promethean sales account executive in contact with Kozacek, was persistent and asked if he could bring in a panel. “He said, ‘just try it, and see what you think,’” said Kozacek. After the demonstration, Taylor left the panel with the school to test out.

“We were basing our decision on the teachers using the demo panels and the feedback they were giving us,” said Kozacek. “The Promethean panel was placed in a fourth-grade classroom, and the teacher absolutely fell in love with it. Within a couple days, we had totally changed our minds. Her students even wrote letters to our school board saying, ‘we need to have these.’”

Seeing all that the ActivPanel could do, Southeast Christian chose the Promethean solution. Initially, Kozacek thought that they’d have to roll out five panels at a time to afford them. “When we found out we could get the panels for about the same price as the projectors that we’d been looking at, we were floored.” Panels for every classroom in the school were installed in one fell swoop.

ActivPanel builds teacher confidence and student engagement

Kozacek has been impressed with how intuitive the panels are and how quickly teachers learned to use and incorporate them into daily lessons. Even technology-averse teachers are enthusiastically using them. “I have teachers who are afraid of technology, who absolutely love using the ActivPanel. They figured them out, aren’t afraid of using them, know how to pull their files up. They’ve just done a really great job.”

“All I need to do is go to the panel, sign in as the sub, and everything is accessed right on the panel for the sub to use the whole day”

Corrie Kozacek

In addition to making the teaching experience easier, the panels have made a big impact on student engagement. The ease of accessing files from cloud drives, using screen captures to pull information into other places, and screen sharing to show students’ work in real time are some of the most widely used features. “Our teachers also love that the kids can come up and write on the panels,” said Kozacek. “The whole interactive piece is so cool. Its not just something they’re projecting. It’s a more powerful learning tool.”

Improving the substitute teacher experience

One unexpected benefit of the panels is how they help teachers and Kozacek prepare and support substitute teachers. When a teacher at Southeast Christian is absent, they send lesson plans, videos, and files to an email account Kozacek created especially for substitutes. “All I need to do is go to the panel, sign in as the sub, and everything is accessed right on the panel for the sub to use the whole day,” Kozacek explained. “It’s smooth and easy.”

The panels are so simple to use, substitutes can log right on. And if it’s needed, the tech-savvy students are eager help. “Teachers tell me that they put information on how to use the panel in sub plans, but the kids just tell the sub how to do it,” Kozacek shared. “And the subs love it because everything they need to teach is right there.” The ability to share teachers’ lesson plans means there is minimal interruption to learning, and it makes the substitute’s jobs that much easier.

Kozacek is extremely happy with how well the panels have been integrated and how this user-friendly technology has elevated the learning experience. Southeast Christian’s teachers are enthusiastic to continue learning more ways to utilize their panels. As the new school year approaches, Kozacek is setting up additional trainings for teachers to dive deeper into panel features and software. “I feel like we have barely scratched the surface with what the boards can do.”

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